MHS and SSHS participate in MINA's Schools for Environmental Conservation Program
June 07, 2016
Marianas High School and Saipan Southern High School were also participants in the Micronesia Island Nature Alliance’s Schools for Environmental Conservation or SFEC alongside Mount Carmel, Kagman High, Northern Marianas Academy and Tanapag Middle School.
SFEC is a program that provides opportunities for students and teachers to learn about and work on a project that focuses on a specific environmental issue. This year’s theme was “Learning About, Interacting With, and Actively Conserving Saipan’s Watersheds.” The schools were to create a Conservation Action Plan and implement it throughout the school year.
MHS. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Marianas High School’s Conservation Action Planning Committee was the school team whose mission is to conserve valuable resources and raise awareness of environmental problems, through strengthening their school recycling program, holding campus and beach cleanups, planting trees around campus and initiating an “interschool environmental committee”. MHS’s school recycling program is designed to reduce the volume of trash by segregating the leftover cafeteria food, plastic bottles, bento lids and organizing them for disposal. They effectively reduced the space filling up a trash bag with over 300 bento boxes compared to 50 if they were not to segregate the debris. With the leftover food that is collected, distribution between local farmers and dog owners is done. Their idea for an interschool environmental committee is to collaborate with other schools, share best environmental practices, challenges and successes and coordinate events together.
Their club advisor, Mayolina Garcia shared “The best results will be obtained when teachers are able to integrate learning in the natural environment. Learning and understanding happens when the learners find the subject matter significant to them. As an Environmental Science educator for a number of years I feel obliged to let my students perceive the relevance of taking care of our environment. It is very rewarding joining them in their advocacy in the preservation of ecosystems, natural places and biological diversity on Saipan.”
Saipan Southern High School’s Conservation Action Plan or CAP was to create a rain garden on campus to improve water quality. Their project site had a lot of trash and broken ceramic pieces. The first task was to clean it out and fill the area with plants. They were able to obtain ferns, lemon grass, and ti-leaf, enough to plant in the area. Some of the challenges they faced were the number of volunteers to clean out the site and having the appropriate tools. But by the end of the year, the Youth Environmental Ambassadors Club was able to clear and plant on half of the desired site. Their next steps will be to continue to water the plants until they are able to support themselves, plant more rain gardens on campus and use the collected broken ceramic pieces as stepping stones around the garden.
SSHS. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
“This program charges the kids to create a solution based on evidence,” says Roy Adsit. Referring to the challenges that they faced to complete their CAP, he shared that “It’s important for the kids to learn that sometimes your best plans needs changes.” They were also inspired by MHS’s CAP and though they already recycle on campus, would like to recycle in the cafeteria as well.
According to Adsit, “This program helps me to teach the students lots of knowledge and some big life lessons, all while working hard and having fun!”
MINA working to conservation Saipan's watersheds
January 29, 2016
The Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance’s Schools for Environmental Conservation project kick-started the year with a watershed workshop last Jan. 16, 2016. This year’s theme is “Learning About, Interacting With, and Actively Conserving Saipan’s Watersheds.” Students from Saipan Southern High School, Kagman High School, Marianas High School, Mount Carmel School, Northern Marianas Academy, and Tanapag Middle School spent the day learning about Saipan’s watersheds, their functions, benefits, importance and the impacts humans can have on them.
Other presentations were on climate change, watershed conservation and developing a conservation action plan (CAP). These presentations were conducted by employees of the Bureau of Environmental Quality: Jihan Buniaq, Coral Reef Education and Outreach coordinator; Becky Skeele, Coastal Resources planner; Dr. Ryan Okano, Water Quality Management/Non-Point Source Pollution Program manager; Avra Heller, Coral Reef Project coordinator; and Carey Demapan, Micronesia Challenge young champion.
Healthy watersheds are important because they protect our groundwater, keep our land from flooding, and help keep our ocean clean and healthy. This project provides opportunities for students and teachers to work and focus on an environmental issue. Each school is required to produce a CAP through which they create a project addressing their watershed. The program is funded by the Department of Interior and runs throughout the school year ending with the school teams presenting their final CAP presentations showing their project, what strategies were used and their results.
To learn more about MINA’s Schools for Environmental Conservation program, visit MINA’s Facebook page, email MINA at email@example.com, or call us at 233-7333(REEF). (MINA)